SERVICES

We support refugee mental health through counselling, documentation, education, and referrals.

COUNSELING

We provide trauma-focused psychological counseling for refugees in one-on-one and group settings. We use psycho-education, emotion self-regulation, and information sharing to prepare our clients for the short-term refugee claim and long-term settlement processes.

DOCUMENTATION

We provide documentation of evidence of psychological trauma for the refugee claim process. We work with our clients (and their lawyers) to document symptoms of psychological trauma to support their refugee claim.

EDUCATION

We provide training and professional development workshops on refugee mental health for health and social service providers, and students of allied health programs. We work on local and national committees to advance the rights of refugees and access to mental health services.

Referrals

We provide referrals to health, housing, and settlement services. We work with our community partners in the health and social services sectors to create a network to support our clients’ basic needs.

Program Features

Getting Through It

Our Getting Through It group is a weekly psychosocial support group for refugees on “getting through” their refugee claim. We have partnered with Settlement Orientation Services (“SOS”) to provide an integrated approach to address the immediate mental health and settlement needs of refugees in their first few months in Canada. The group is held every Wednesday from 10:00am – 12:00pm at VAST’s offices on Victoria Dr. Sessions are held in multiple languages.

Refugee Readiness Project

Our Refugee Readiness Project provides province-wide education and training for health and social service providers working with refugees throughout British Columbia. We provide information, referrals, and case consultation. Contact our Provincial Refugee Mental Health Coordinator toll-free at 1-866-393-3133 for more information.

Download our Vulnerability Screening Tool and our Group Therapy Manual

Who We Are

We work with refugees from over 100 countries
BC’s largest centre for refugee mental health

In 1986, a small group of human rights activists and mental health workers gathered in Vancouver to support the flood of refugees arriving from the armed conflicts in Central America. They founded the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (“VAST”) in October of that year, and this dedicated group of volunteers built what would become BC’s largest centre for refugee mental health. Today, VAST works with refugees from over 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Our programs and services are offered in over a dozen languages, including Arabic, Farsi, French, Mandarin, and Spanish. We support the mental health of refugees who arrive in British Columbia with psychological trauma as a result of torture, political violence, and other forms of persecution on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

  • Counseling
  • Documentation
  • Education
  • Referrals

our stAFF

Our keys to a brighter future are our people
Uploaded image

Catarina Moreno

Executive Director
Uploaded image

CAMILLE DUMOND

Clinical Counsellor
Uploaded image

IRENE GUINAND

Clinical Counsellor
Uploaded image

MATIAS HACKER

Clinical Counsellor
Uploaded image

MARIANA MARTINEZ VIEYRA

Provincial Refugee Mental Health Coordinator

BOARD MEMBERS

Uploaded image

JODIE GAUTHEIR

Co-chair
Uploaded image

AMITA VULIMIRI

Co-chair
Uploaded image

NICK LOPEZ

Treasurer
Uploaded image

LAURA BEST

Member
Uploaded image

BRIAN THOMAS-PETER

Member
Uploaded image

ZAHEEDA MERCHANT

Member
Uploaded image

MATTHEW BORGHESE

Member
Uploaded image

MELANIE MCDONALD

Member
Uploaded image

SONYA SABET

Member

GET INVOLVED

'We rise by lifting others' - Robert Ingersoll

Thank you for the support of our funders!